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Greg Carpenter discusses market-focused culture at the 2013 Kellogg Marketing Leadership Summit.

Greg Carpenter discusses market-focused culture.

The Customer Explained

Kellogg’s Marketing Leadership Summit examines the customer-centric organization


Learn more about the
2013 Kellogg Marketing
Leadership Summit


Executives increasingly understand that they must cater to the needs of empowered consumers. But in today’s marketing landscape, defined by granular segmentation, integrated digital strategies, and data analytics, the complexity can be overwhelming.

That could explain why more than 100 business leaders and faculty attended the 2013 Marketing Leadership Summit, sponsored by Egon Zehnder, McKinsey & Company, and the Kellogg Markets and Customers Initiative (KMCI), to augment their knowledge and learn about strategies that have worked for top companies. Attendance at the summit, now in its third year, has grown by more than 50 percent since its inception.

“The demands on executives for understand customers and markets have never been greater,” said Gregory Carpenter, KMCI faculty director. “So having access to as many perspectives as possible and integrating them throughout the organization are essential for success.”

The invite-only summit, “Leading the Customer-Centered Organization,” featured a full day’s worth of presentations and breakout sessions. Key takeaways included:

  • Companies are using a wide range of tactics to engage customers, support an ongoing dialogue, and incorporate feedback into business strategy and product development

  • CMOs can no longer hope to succeed using a traditional marketing model; instead, they must be conversant in data analytics and prepared to demonstrate returns on investment

  • As marketing has pervaded the entire organization, CMOs must be ready to embrace a more prominent role in the C-suite


Presenters and panelists included executives from Fortune 500 companies across a range of industries. McKinsey’s Betsy Holden led a panel discussion on how organizations had transformed their operations by integrating the customer perspective, while colleague John Livingston made the case for CMOs embracing the role of chief engagement officer. Discover CMO Harit Talwar discussed how aligning business strategy with customer needs has enabled his company to thrive amid heightened competition.

Compelling research and analysis helped participants gain a broader understanding of the current landscape, challenges, and opportunities. Greg Carpenter shared his latest work on the process that companies should follow to achieve a more customer-centric stance. In addition, UC Berkeley Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Robert Knight discussed how brain physiology and the subconscious influence decision making, while Kellogg Assistant Professor of Marketing Moran Cerf provided a glimpse into the future of neuromarketing. Last, Egon Zehnder’s Dick Patton and Rory Finlay offered findings from their interviews with 500 global marketing executives on the changing role of the CMO.

The summit’s value derives in part from the wide range of expertise of its presenters. “I really enjoyed hearing an academic perspective on what’s happening in the discipline of marketing and then being able to connect that to my day-to-day experience,” said John Kennedy, CMO at IBM.

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